Daniela Sacerdoti’s Sarah Midnight trilogy has created its own wee world within Scotland that sees everything from demons and elemental creatures appear in her journey for not only the truth of her existence, but the battle to save the Secret Heirs. With a large group of characters in tow for her journey, fans have been following her story and will find the conclusion in Spirit, ending the eager wait.
How did you feel writing the concluding Sarah Midnight book? Will you miss her story?
I’ll miss her terribly. In fact, I might be reluctant to let her go…
What do you think it is about Sarah that kept readers along for the trilogy?
Well, I don’t think it’s just Sarah as a character, but the whole group of friends – there’s something for everyone; every reader has a character they relate to in particular. Also, you never know what’s around the corner, and that’s what makes the whole thing so exciting to read… as well as to write!
How have you found writing YA compared to your other books?
Just the same: it’s a story I have inside me that I want to tell – it’s as simple as that. The target audience comes after the story, not vice versa. I love writing YA because the readers are enthusiastic and supportive – I received so many emails through my website from readers who loved Sarah, and this means the world to me.
With so many characters and back-stories, who have been your favourites to write about and why?
I have a weak spot for Winter Shaw. I think she’s wonderful, free, kind, cheerful and full of life. Winter is half human and half water elemental, and she can turn into a seal at will. Her character is inspired by the selkie of Scottish and Irish traditions, the woman-seal. She came to me fully formed, with her silver hair and personality and name. Maybe she’ll have her own story too, one day. I’m also very fond of Elodie: she’s a dark character, with a difficult path to travel on, and very, very brave.
Nicholas is a good example of toying with both good and evil – what was the motivation to avoid the typical absolute “bad guy” character?
I don’t think anyone in real life is completely good or completely bad, so all my villains have a hint of good in them and all my goodies have a hint of badness. Nicholas has lived in his father’s shadow for many years, and so many of his decisions have been motivated by the need to please his father, rather than being the choices he would have necessarily made. Without giving anything away, I think Nicholas’ journey is to realise that he doesn’t have to follow in his father’s footsteps and that he can be his own person.
There’s a lot of locations across the series – are they all places you’ve been to, or have lived?
I’ve been to Edinburgh many times, of course – it’s the ideal location for a dark story! It’s an amazing city, and really atmospheric. I’ve also been to “Castelmonte”, where Elodie is sent to take refuge with Aiko Ayanami: it represents my home village of Caravino, in Northern Italy. I was lucky enough to visit Poland when I was fifteen and I absolutely loved it – especially the people, who are so friendly. I’ve never been to Islay in the Hebrides, but I’ll go there for the first time next month to take part in the Book Festival. I’ve also never been to Louisiana, where Mike and Niall hide for a while – it’s on my “To Visit” list!
Where did the quotes at the start of each chapter come from? Do you have any particular favourites?
They are snippets from my poetry. I think my favourite is: “Suddenly, it seems like nothing matters but you”. I think it sums up the true meaning of being in love; although often in life love is not all that matters, but has to contend with many other things.
Do you have plans for any future YA books?
Oh yes, but my lips are sealed!
What will you miss most about the series?
Just about everything! The world I built, the characters and, yes, even the scary demons! But most of all I’ll miss Sarah and Sean. I have spent so much time with them that they’re like friends to me. Actually, Sarah is a little bit like a daughter.
What do you hope people take from the series, or Spirit as a conclusion to it?
Well, Sarah’s readers are mainly girls and women, though not exclusively – I hope that Sarah, who is a young woman who discovers the power inside her and learns to master it, inspires others to do the same. I also hope that Sarah’s trilogy conveys the importance of friendship and loyalty, because Sarah couldn’t have made it without her friends to help her and support her.
Anything you’d like to add?
Just a big thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of Sarah’s fans! Thank you for your support throughout the trilogy, and I hope the conclusion satisfies you and excites you and leaves you a bit breathless. And many thanks Heather, for having me today.